Hidden Risks in Today's Talent Market


As organizations compete for talent in a market with unemployment rates near all-time lows, it is tempting to cut corners when evaluating applicants during the hiring process.


Just like in the housing market where buyers are waiving inspections so their bids will be accepted, some employers may be inclined to forego a thorough background screening to expedite making a commitment to a skilled candidate. Today’s competitive market requires due diligence on prospective hires.


Recruiters driven to fill positions in this fast-moving environment are not looking for ‘red flags’ in an applicant’s background. They increasingly rely on online platforms to find and screen candidates; often using built-in skill tests and assessment tools. But in no way does all this information provide a full picture of a person’s potential for being a great employee or one who may become a problem; or worse—an insider threat.


It is challenging to slow the hiring process to perform the proper evaluation of a candidate. Certain legislative changes have structured how employers request and use reportable findings on a person’s criminal or credit history. Also, courts in many jurisdictions are sluggish in responding to requests for civil and criminal histories due to the case backlog created by pandemic shutdowns. The same holds true for a slowdown in academic verifications.


Since background checks have become a commoditized service, recruiters often are satisfied with a cursory check that can be ordered online for a nominal fee. In this job market, when there is a rush to hire, it pays to conduct a background investigation that includes an unbiased assessment of a person’s social media history, interviews of references and verification of employment, driving records and academic histories.


As companies in all industries vie for a finite number of skilled professionals, the winning approach is to engage candidates throughout the hiring process and provide a clear picture of the benefits of the position and working for the organization. When there seems to be a match, conduct a thorough background investigation to minimize problems down the road. Good candidates have nothing to hide.